LAHORE, Jan 23: “The government is to allow public screening of an Indian movie for the first time in decades, but a general ban on Bollywood films remains intact,” officials said on Monday.

Cinemas will be permitted to show ‘Sohni Mahiwal’, a 1984 love story, Film Censor Board Chairman Ziauddin told AFP.

The distributor of the film said he had received a special exemption to screen it after appealing to President Pervez Musharraf.

“The government has allowed the exhibition of only one Indian movie, ‘Sohni Mahiwal’, on the basis of a court decision,” said Mr Ziauddin.

He said media reports that the government had removed ban on Bollywood films were ‘incorrect’ and that they would remain illegal in Pakistan.

He said the normal guidelines for Indian films were relaxed in this case because the film was a co-production between India and the then Soviet Union.

Distributor Ali Zafar said he imported the film in 1989 and had battled governments through courts ever since to be allowed to screen it.

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